15 Dec 2022

Metaquette #VIrtualTV #CommercialTelevision #Television #Entertainment #metaverse #MetaverseTV Q28

Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with......................Pooky Amsterdam

A Post from the Past. As we wrap up 2022, it is interesting to look back into our archives for potential grail. This was written over 10 years ago by an incredible scholar CarrieLynn D. Reinhard with whom I have co-authored papers on Television in the Metaverse. 
Entertainment is one of this spaces big offerings, and how we utilize The Metaverse will change the landscape.

Q: How will Virtual World TV in the Metaverse change and challenge Commercial Television?

(Originally published April 19, 2013 by CarrieLynn D. Reinhard in Scholarly Musing.)

Tonight I attended a lecture by Sut Jhally, media and culture critic, on television that was sponsored by Concordia University and Dominican University. Dr. Jhally may be most known for his Media Education Foundation videos, such as Tough Guise and Dreamworlds, that work to critically analyze the media messages and industries that populate and permeate our pop culture and mass society. He spoke to the largely undergraduate student audience about the need to understand the profit-driven logic of a commercial media industry, like television in the United States, to understand the messages produced through such media and our relationship to the messages and the media.

Jhally made the argument that we are currently in a situation where the predominance of advertising, that which fuels commercial television, is akin to the virtual reality construct of The Matrix in the film trilogy of the same name. Like those humans being used as batteries by the robots, we television viewers are active laborers in our living rooms, producing for the commercial television industry through our attending to advertisements. It is through our laboring by watching ads that the television networks can sell airtime to advertisers and thus make a profit from producing television.

To Jhally, we are labor for the media industry, who capitalize on our labor by selling it to advertisers, and then we are paid for our labor by the television shows the media industry produces for us to enjoy. He argued that media systems are defined by what they take from us, which is our productivity.

But then does that mean we are defined by how we produce for the system? Do we not have the choice of whether to propagate or resist through our actions? Currently, for Jhally, our only role within the system is to be as products and not producers. While we may labor, our labor is what is produced; it is our product, and it is sold to the advertisers. Television sells to the advertisers our watching: we are not creating anything to sell except through our act of watching. We are, as Dallas Smythe put it, “audience-as-commodity”, or the newer version “audience-as-transmitter“. And as long as we continue to watch that which we enjoy without critiquing and challenging our relationship to television, then we will continue to be in The Matrix, receiving programming that cares little for our well-being and that may reflect a reality we do not want.

It’s why, after awhile, all of television starts to look the same…

Now, he and I both agree that new technologies make the media industry freak out and readjust their practices in order to maintain the logic of their system, i.e. their control over the means by which they generate profit. The television industry has had to adjust to remote controls, VCRs, DVRs, online streaming, and fan activities.

And now we get to why I am bringing up Jhally’s lecture on this blog. This blog is dedicated to the discussion of television production in the virtual world Second Life. Here we are dealing with a new technology — the social medium of virtual worlds — that in some ways the television industry has toyed with for marketing purposes only, bringing Heroes into Habbo or The Office into Second Life. The industry has had little consideration of this medium as a potential source for distribution and exhibition, let alone production, of television programming. Instead, individuals who could be considered amateurs or semi-professionals have taken up that aspect of the television industry, remediating aspects of the industry while forgoing the replication of other aspects.

So, then I ask you, could VWTV be the next challenge to the television industry? Another potential “freak out”?

Jhally argued that we need to take back television through what he called a revolution on the factory floor, or our living rooms in which we are laborers for the industry. Could VWTV be this revolution?

With VWTV we are seeing the turn from consumers of television to producers of television, changing the productivity in relation to television. The VWTV producers are no longer merely the products of the television industry, attentive eyeballs to sell to advertisers. They are now producers within a television industry, with their labor resulting in a product that is television programming. Television programming is no longer just their wage for being “good viewers” who stomach commercials and product placement; it is their product, to do with as they please. VWTV allows those who might have only been “audience-as-commodity” or “audience-as-transmitter” to truly become “audience-as-agent” by becoming prosumers.

So when Jhally asked how do we make the system more democratic and bring in more voices — well, I thought to myself, perhaps with VWTV. If you want more cultural participation, then what better place to start looking than a participatory culture built within the social medium that is a whole new world, a virtual world.

Or, if I might add.......in the Metaverse.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered.

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